Since my Day 4 in my Cambodia and Vietnam trip was just all about my 12 hours travel from Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly named Saigon), let me now jumped to my Day 5. However, I would like to note that on my Day 4, we left Siem Reap at 6:30am and we arrived in Saigon at the Sinh Tourist office at around 7:30pm. Upon arrival, we booked their one-day Mekong Delta tour for 11 USD (P525) per person. They accept credit cards so we used our credit card in booking their tours. And since our 4 days and 3 nights Siem Reap Package tour was already over, we booked our own accommodation for the night. We stayed overnight at a hostel located at Pham Ngu Lao also known as the backpacker area. We paid 12 USD (P540) for one room that has air conditioner, tv, refrigerator, and a private bathroom.
So now back to Day 5, I was pretty excited again because I heard from a couple of friends that the Mekong Delta tour is interesting. We left the Sinh Tourist office by 8:30am. The bus was full of different nationalities — Westerners, Japanese, Koreans, Vietnamese etc. My mom and I were seated at the front seats and sitting across us were two Filipino-looking women. I first thought that they were Filipinos. I tried eavesdropping in their conversation but I couldn’t understand their language so I guess, I was wrong. Later, I found out that they are Indonesians. Seriously, I really think that Filipinos and Indonesians look a lot similar.
On our way to Mekong Delta, I noticed that our bus was running really slow. I found out that in Vietnam the urban speed limit ranges from 30 to 40 km/h. It took us almost 2 hours to reach Mekong Delta. The Mekong Delta is the region in southwestern Vietnam. This is the part of Vietnam where the Mekong River approaches and empties into the South China sea. The Mekong river is a major river in southeastern Asia. It is the 12th longest river in the world. From Tibet, it runs through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam (very long, indeed! 🙂 ). In this trip, we visited Ben Tre, one of the towns in Mekong Delta. We didn’t see the floating market in Ben Tre. I heard that the floating market is in Cai Be and Can Tho.
Upon arrival in Ben Tre province, we took a boat that brought us to a local restaurant where we had our lunch. At the restaurant, we met two Filipinas from Cagayan de Oro. We found out that we were also at the same tour group. One of the ladies said she has a daughter working in Saigon and that she often visits Vietnam. After lunch, we took a rowing-boat along a small creek. Each rowing- boat had a maximum 0f 5 people including the paddler of the boat who is a local Vietnamese. For me, this was the highlight of the trip. The paddler gave us a traditional Vietnamese hat to wear that made us feel like a Vietnamese 🙂 . I just loved the atmosphere while he was rowing the boat along the creek and I could breath the fresh air and see the coconut trees in the river. The coconut trees here are really different from the ones that we have in my hometown Laguna. The roots of the coconut trees in Ben Tre are submerged in the river. They are also a very important source of livelihood for the local people.
The life of the people here revolves much around the river. We also visited a local family who makes coconut candies. They showed us how to make coconut candies. Then we took another boat that brought us to a brick factory. I recommend this tour if you want to see the daily lives of the local people along the Mekong River. It was interesting for me since it’s really different from the place where I grew up. Moreover, I really like to observe the culture and way of life of these local people.
We returned to the bus by 3pm and we went back to Saigon. Honestly speaking, while in Saigon I accidentally deleted all the files in one of my cams. That was the digicam I used from the start of this trip so it contained all my pictures from Cambodia including most of the pictures of my Mekong Delta trip. I was trying to delete only one picture and accidentally pressed the button beside it which is delete all files. All my treasured pictures from Cambodia most importantly from Angkor Wat vanished in an instant. You could imagine my frustration after that. I felt really sad after that but I just told myself that this mishap is nothing compared to all the countless blessings and happiness that I received from this trip so I should focus on the good things and not on this single unfortunate incident. I just feel so lucky because while in Siem Reap I uploaded some of my pictures in my facebook account. Facebook is such a savior! Though the image quality isn’t so high anymore, at least I was able to keep some of my precious pictures from Cambodia. 🙂